Early Australian Voyages: Pelsart, Tasman, Dampier eBook

John Pinkerton
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 151 pages of information about Early Australian Voyages.

CHAPTER XVI:  ARRIVES IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD OF BURNING ISLAND, AND SURVEYS THE WHOLE COAST OF NEW GUINEA.

On the 20th, in the latitude of 5 degrees 4 minutes south, and in the longitude 164 degrees 27 minutes, we found the variation 8 degrees 30 minutes east.  We that night drew near the Brandande Yland, i.e., burning island, which William Schovten mentions, and we perceived a great flame issuing, as he says, from the top of a high mountain.  When we were between that island and the continent, we saw a vast number of fires along the shore and half-way up the mountain, from whence we concluded that the country must be very populous.  We were often detained on this coast by calms, and frequently observed small trees, bamboos, and shrubs, which the rivers on that coast carried into the sea; from which we inferred that this part of the country was extremely well watered, and that the land must be very good.  The next morning we passed the burning mountain, and continued a west-north-west course along that coast.

It is remarkable that Schovten had made the same observation with respect to the driftwood forced by the rivers into the sea.  He likewise observed that there was so copious a discharge of fresh water, that it altered the colour and the taste of the sea.  He likewise says that the burning island is extremely well peopled, and also well cultivated.  He afterwards anchored on the coast of the continent, and endeavoured to trade with the natives, who made him pay very dear for hogs and cocoa-nuts, and likewise showed him some ginger.  It appears from Captain Tasman’s account that he was now in haste to return to Batavia, and did not give himself so much trouble as at the beginning about discoveries, and to say the truth, there was no great occasion, if, as I observed, his commission was no more than to sail round the new discovered coasts, in order to lay them down with greater certainty in the Dutch charts.

CHAPTER XVII:  COMES TO THE ISLANDS OF JAMA AND MOA.

On the 27th, being in the latitude of 2 degrees 10 minutes south, and in the longitude of 146 degrees 57 minutes, we fancied that we had a sight of the island of Moa, but it proved to be that of Jama, which lies a little to the east of Moa.  We found here great plenty of cocoa-nuts and other refreshments.  The inhabitants were absolutely black, and could easily repeat the words that they heard others speak, which shows their own to be a very copious language.  It is, however, exceedingly difficult to pronounce, because they make frequent use of the letter R, and sometimes to such a degree that it occurs twice or thrice in the same word.  The next day we anchored on the coast of the island of Moa, where we likewise found abundance of refreshments, and where we were obliged by bad weather to stay till May 9th.  We purchased there, by way of exchange, six thousand

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Early Australian Voyages: Pelsart, Tasman, Dampier from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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